Monday, October 20, 2014Congresses

How well do you know your hair?

© Thinkstock/L'Observatoire des Cosmétiques

Did you know that humans have four different kinds of hair? And that women have just as much body hair as men? That androgens make beards grow and cause baldness? And that we still don’t fully understand the lifecycle of hair? At the 14th Day of Scientific and Technical Exchanges, put on by Cosmed, Alexandre Guichard of the Besançon university hospital’s dermatology department took his listeners on a discovery tour of the hair fibre.

Reading time
~ 7 minutes

On 10 October 2014, Cosmed, the association of cosmetics SMEs, held its 14th JEST (Day of Scientific and Technical Exchanges) on the theme of ‘Cosmetology of the hair and scalp’. Alexandre Guichard, who works at Besançon’s university hospital under Professor Humbert, revealed the secrets of the anatomy and physiology of hair: it was a very instructive journey to the centre of the hair fibre.

Hair and more hair

There’s the hair we’d like to get rid of forever, and then the hair that we’d like to see more of… but we aren’t necessarily aware of just how much hair truly is growing all over our bodies. There are four kinds of hair, which varies according to the part of the body where it grows.

Splitting hairs

• Lanugo: this is the hair of the foetus, present all over the body. It is fine (less than 40 μm in diameter), of moderate length (a little over 2 mm), poorly pigmented, and contains no medulla.
• Vellus hair: present over the entire body except for the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet. This hair is also very fine (less than 40 μm in diameter), short (less than 1 …

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